Interview with Oliver Palotai of Kamelot

We caught up recently with Oliver Palotai, keyboard player from Kamelot to talk about the new album, Haven, life on the road and their first UK festival headline slot. 

You can check out Kamelots sci-fi inspired thriller for the song "Insomnia". In a post apocalyptic world, surveillance is everywhere and over population is rampant. Deep in the underground of the Wasteland Monarchy lies the Insomnia Division, the housing for some of the chosen ones, only allowed to live in an Insomniatic state.

Hi there, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Your new album Haven has been a long time coming. Now that it has been released, are you happy with the end result?

After a finished production I always need a couple of weeks to get a bit of a distance to an album. For 1 1⁄2 years I was – in case of “Haven” - constantly working on the music. So you´re so deep in the music that it is hard to judge everything afterwards. By now – also after receiving so much enthusiastic feedback from fans and the press – I can say I am proud of what we´ve achieved.

Was it a more settled process than your previous album now that Tommy (Karevik) is a more established member of the band?

Yes, indeed. Tommy is now also an established member of the songwriting team and he participated from an early stage on, after Thomas Youngblood and I wrote the basic demos. On “Silverthorn” quite a couple of songs were written before Tommy was confirmed as the new singer. That was different this time.

Was the approach to writing the album any different from what you had done previously?

Every album is different, of course. But all in all it was pretty similar to the ones before. Basic songs written by Thomas and me, after we worked with Tommy on the vocals, then Tommy spent some weeks in the studios with Sascha Paeth, mix and master in the end.

Is there any one song in particular that you are proud of on this album?

I think the album is very thought- through from the beginning to the end. On previous records I can mostly find the one or the other weaker spot. One of my favourites is surely “Here´s to the Fall”, an orchestra- and- vocals- only ballad, where the often detailed orchestrations I wrote are not buried in the mix.

Is it getting harder and harder to pick the songs for your live set now with so many well established fan favourites at the same time as promoting a new album like Haven?

Well, especially on this tour (US and Canada, first round 2015) we were surprised that there are so many new fans, which are with us only since “Silverthorn”. We put some older songs into the set at the beginning of the tour, which were celebrated by the audience in the past. But this time we found out that many fans react much more to the songs of the last two albums. There will always be some classics, but I am very happy that we won´t become a band feeding off their older material only. I was a member of such a band for many years at the beginning of my career, and it was one of the reasons I quit that band because it was so incredibly boring to play the same old songs again and again.

You recently headlined your first UK festival in Hammerfest, was that an enjoyable new experience for Kamelot?

The crowd was – like almost always in the US – lots of fun. Energetic and loud. The organisation – well, maybe I shouldn't loose too many words about it. Let´s say we had better organized festivals somewhere in the mountain regions of Latin America.

Speaking of the UK, you're currently on the road in the US with your British friends Dragonforce, is the tour going well?

It is one of best starts of a tour series I´ve ever experienced. You never know why exactly, but the response is fantastic and the venues are packed. We definitely went a step up here in the US. Of course, Dragonforce is a strong support, which helps in many ways.

Do you have any confirmed plans for the rest of the year once that tour finishes? Are we likely to see you in the UK again in 2015?

After playing those two gigs in March in the UK I´m not sure we return before 2016. I am not a booking agent, though. We will tour Europe in September/ October, a couple of festivals in summer, and the US/ Canada 2nd round in November/ December. Australia, Japan and South America then in 2016.

Lastly, what is your number one essential item that you have to have with you when you're out on the road touring?

My eBook reader. I love to read, and the invention of that took literally a lot of weight off my shoulders during touring.

Scribbled by:

Lover of most things with a foundation of rock or metal. Totally bypassed the grunge movement and was introduced to metal by Metallica and the nu-metal revolution of the early 21st century. Extremely keen photographer (music and otherwise).